DOVER, DE. (June 2, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick made racing on the Dover Downs International Speedway "Monster Mile" look easy as starting and finishing third in the MBNA E-Commerce 200. Hendrick kept his No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet...
DOVER, DE. (June 2, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick made racing on the Dover Downs International Speedway "Monster Mile" look easy as starting and finishing third in the MBNA E-Commerce 200. Hendrick kept his No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Silverado in the Top-5 throughout the entire event coming up just short of his first series win at the finish.
"We had an awesome day, " said Hendrick. "We knew we were racing for the win pretty early into the race. The GMAC Chevy was dialed in. It was great for everyone to know we really had a shot at the win. Everything really came together. We are getting closer to that first win."
Hendrick and his teammate, Jack Sprague, guided their twin Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Silverados to the front of the field by the midway point of the 200-lap event on the ultra-tough Dover concrete oval. With just over 30 circuits remaining, Scott Riggs was able to sweep by the two leaders holding the point to the finish.
"It was really cool to be running up front with Jack," said Hendrick. "We've gotten a couple of chances to do that this year and it feels great. We just want to finish a race that way. Riggs, Sprague and I were all good. After that restart, Riggs got by me and Jack and that's the way we finished. It was a really good day for Team GMAC."
Weather delayed the event from Friday to Saturday morning. The cool, rainy conditions kept the GMAC Silverado tight throughout the early portion of the race before adjustments by crew chief Lance McGrew brought the truck to the setup Hendrick needed.
"I didn't think about the rain," said Hendrick of the light drizzle that fell during the opening laps of the event. "There wasn't anything I could do. If NASCAR said we were racing, then we were racing. It's important to keep it simple. There are always challenges in any race - weather was one in this race. We had to be cautious at the start. I'm sure everyone one was. No one wants to wad it up on the first lap. We were able to get the whole race in and earn another Top-3 finish. That's a good day."
Hendrick earned $23,365 for the solid finish and jumped to sixth in the season point standings, 224 out of the top spot. The Charlotte, NC native also regained the lead in the NCTS Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award. The event was the first of two for Hendrick and Team GMAC at the "Monster Mile" this season as the squad will return in September to compete in the MBNA.com 200 NASCAR Busch Series race. The No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Silverado NCTS entry will next compete in Fort Worth, TX in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 400, Friday, June 8 at 8 p.m. Central Daylight Time. The ninth race of the 24-event NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series tour will be broadcast live on MRN radio network and telecast on a tape-delayed basis on ESPN2 at 12 noon, Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday, June 9.
"We were a little tight, but I really can't complain. The guys did a great job in the pits and that really helped me out . We were gaining spots during our pit stops. It was fun to drive today."